Letters to the Editor are short letters written in response to articles or issues covered by a newspaper.

These letters are written by people like you, to express your opinion on a subject. It can be sent to thank the editor for covering the issues, to raise awareness, and to persuade those who aren’t sure what to think about a particular topic

The more letters an editor receives on a particular topic, the more likely the issue is to be covered. Newspapers are happy to get opinion pieces from their readers.

Letters to the Editor follow specific formats. Follow these instructions to increase the chances your letter will be published.

How to write your Letter to the Editor

  • Give your letter one simple message. If someone’s going to read this letter, what do you want them to do or understand?
  • Write briefly and concisely. Keep your letter to around 200 words and make one or two main point.
  • Make your point quickly in the first or second sentence.
  • Write from your own point of view: facts, personal experience, local relevance; all these are good.
  • Be timely: don’t wait to write your letter! Editors won’t publish a letter that’s written several days after the article has appeared in the newspaper.
  • Give the date of publication of the article you’re writing about
  • You can use humour or satire in your letter. You can use a serious tone. However you write, just use your own voice.


Use this format to write your letter:

  • Open your letter with: “To the Editor of [name of newspaper”. If you know the name of the editor, use it instead.
  • Your letter is about your point of view. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to have something to say. You may be passionate about the topic, but explain the importance of the topic; others may not be familiar with it.
  • Start your letter with a single point, and mention the date of publication of the article.
  • Use the next few sentences to add support to your claim or point: back it up (with facts, or with your personal experience).
  • Focus on the positive if possible: instead of arguing the cons, show the pros if the situation was reversed.
  • Finish with a sentence about what you’d like to have happen: what do you thinks hould happen now?
  • Thank the Editor for considering publishing your letter
  • Sign your letter. If your letter is going to be published, the newspaper will call you to authenticate the letter and that you are the writer. If a letter doesn’t include these details, it won’t be published:
    • Your REAL name (this will be published)
    • Your REAL address (only the area will be published)
    • Your REAL telephone number (this will NOT be published)
    • Your REAL email if you have one (this will NOT be published)


DOs and DON’Ts


  • Write your letter immediately after a story has been published
  • Keep your letter brief
  • Use plain language that everyone will understand
  • Be authentic (be yourself) – the letter is about your views
  • Spell check your letter
  • Give the date of publication of the article you’re writing about


  • Don’t use swear words – your letter won’t be published
  • Don’t make too many points or make your letter too long
  • Don’t write libelous or slanderous letters
  • Don’t expect a response – newspapers receive hundreds of letters to the editor, they only print a small selection (don’t give up: follow up with a letter to your government representative if your letter doesn’t get printed)
  • Don’t attach any other files when you send your letter by email